Today’s post looks at theology based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. While this post is a brief summary, I hope that this post can be a starting point when looking at the doctrines of trinitarianism and soteriology.
Jesus Christ. Article #4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. (This statement is from the Evangelical Free Church of America)
I. THE HYPOSTATIC UNION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human (John 1:14; Rom 1:3-4; Phil 2:5-8; Col 2:9). The deity of Jesus Christ is clearly seen throughout the OT (2 Sam 7:12-16; Pss 2) as well as the NT (Matt 26:62-66; John 1:1-3, 18; 14:9; Col 1:15, 19; 2:9; 1 Tim 2:3-6; Heb 1:1-14). Additionally, his humanity is equally attested to in the OT (Gen 3:15; 12:3; Dan 7:13-14) and NT (Matt 4:1-11; cf. Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13; Gal 3:6-9, 16; Phil 2:5-8; Heb 2:14-15).
II. JESUS AS ISRAEL’S PROMISED MESSIAH
As the promised Messiah of Israel, Jesus uniquely fulfilled prophecies that pointed toward him (Gen 3:15; Pss 22:16; 31:5; Isa 50:6; 52:13-53:12; Dan 9:6; Amos 8:9; Zeck 11:12-13;12:10; 13:1, 7). It is only through this promised Messiah that Israel and the rest of the world would be able to come into a right standing with God.
The books following the giving of the Law thru Malachi prove that the nation of Israel could not fulfill the Law perfectly. Therefore, this promised Messiah (for whom the nation of Israel was waiting) provided the way to a righteous standing with God. This could only be done through the virgin birth of a perfect human being (Matt 1:18; 20; 24-25; Luke 1:35; 3:23). This virgin birth shows that salvation came from the Lord through the seed of woman (Gen 3:15), the virgin birth makes it possible to unite the full deity and full humanity into one person, and the virgin birth shows that the true humanity of Christ could occur without inheriting sin.
III. PHIL 2:7 SAYS JESUS EMPTIED HIMSELF?
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he states that while Christ was the one who could bring glory to himself, he chose to empty himself (Phil 2:7). What did it mean for Christ to “empty himself?” It likely means that Christ poured out himself totally at the disposal of people. However, this does not mean that Christ emptied himself of his divine powers or attributes. It only means—based on the context of Paul’s letter—that Jesus had the right to claim power and authority, but he gave that up for the purpose of serving others.
IV. THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Christianity is a faith of miracles and one of the greatest miracles is that a man was crucified, went into a grave, and then arose on the third day. In Jesus’s resurrection he had a body (Luke 24:30-32, 36). He was not a ghost (Luke 24:40-43). After his resurrection, he appeared to over five hundred people at one time (1 Cor 15:5-6), to James and all the apostles (1 Cor 15:7), and to Paul (1 Cor 15:8-9).
He also gave many convincing proofs that he was alive (Acts 1:3). The resurrection provides “good news” for us as Christians because it tells us that we have a spiritual resurrection (Rom 6:1-14) and it also provides a hope for us in our future physical bodily resurrection, (1 Thess 4:13-5:1; 1 Cor 15). To summarize, through Christ’s resurrection the power of death and sin have been broken (Rom 6:1-14) and it is through the resurrection that believers are justified (Rom 4:23-24).
V. THE PRESENT ROLE OF CHRIST
Christ is the mediator and reconciler of believers back into a right relationship with God. Christ serves as our high priest in heaven because he offered one sacrifice for all time (Heb 1:3; 10:11-12), he is our advocate (Heb 7:23-25; 1 John 2:1), he intercedes for us (Rom 8:34), and as a result he is able to completely save us (Heb 7:25).